University of California

Low-income consumers, though less aware of genetically modified foods, are concerned and want labels


Nicelma J. King

Author Affiliations

N.J. King is Cooperative Extension Specialist, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis. This research was carried out with the cooperation and assistance of Cooperative Extension Home Economists Gloria Brown (County Director, San Mateo-San Francisco), Gloria Espinosa-Hall, Faye Lee, Yvonne Nicholson, Barbara Turner and Estella West, in identifying and coordinating appropriate groups to participate in the focus groups. Sandra Alvarez, Dana Andrews, Pat Brown and Michele Lites also facilitated some of the groups. The author is grateful for their assistance, as well as for the time and candor of the focus group participants. Any errors of fact or interpretation are the responsibility of the author alone.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 57(3):81-85. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n03p81. July 2003.

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Consumer attitudes about genetically modified foods have been reported in a number of studies in recent years, but little attention has been paid to the awareness and attitudes of low-income consumers. While land-grant universities and public health departments have targeted these consumers for nutrition education, it is not clear what their attitudes are, or how the subject should be addressed in education programs such as those offered by Cooperative Extension. We conducted focus groups with low-income consumers in California during spring and summer 2002. Their awareness of genetically modified foods was low, but ethical and safety concerns were fairly high; and they wanted genetically modified foods to be labeled. Consumer and nutrition education programs targeted at low-income consumers should address emerging food technologies.


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King N. 2003. Low-income consumers, though less aware of genetically modified foods, are concerned and want labels. Hilgardia 57(3):81-85. DOI:10.3733/ca.v057n03p81
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